Who Watches Over You?




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How will we stay safe? Who will be protect us? What will personal privacy look like in 2023?  

who watches over you?Affordable Sensor Technology Everywhere

We can currently produce sensors that can measure minute amounts of gases under a wide range of conditions. These are used for everything from monitoring pollution, to  helping improve traffic flows, to keeping fruit and vegetables fresher for longer. In 2023, they will be cheaper, more sensitive and deployed everywhere.  They could be used to monitor all aspects of the environment at all levels – in your garden, in your house, in your street or workplace.  96% of New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone is ocean.  At the moment, it’s hard to monitor what is happening over such a vast area.  How would you use this sensor technology in 2023?

who watches over you?Chip The Kids

If we could apply satellite and biosensor monitoring to animal flocks, might we also want to ‘chip’ our children and adolescents to keep them safe? What issues would this raise?

who watches over you?Personal Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)

Unmanned aerial vehicles are small, remotely-piloted or computer-controlled aircraft.  They range in cost from quite expensive to small and cheap and are flying hundreds of kms with short flying times.  Today, they are used for monitoring insurgents in Afghanistan and are just starting to be used for law enforcement in the United States. Hobbyists are building UAVs and putting cameras and other sensors on them. In 2023, they will be cheaper, maybe solar powered too, so they can stay in the air continuously. They will be able to carry bigger payloads.  Perhaps you could have your own personal UAV. You can already buy unmanned aerial drones for hundreds of dollars.  In 2023, it may be easier to fly an autonomous drone to your flock than check it in real life, especially if it’s raining!  You could set up a neighbourhood watch for your community, provide early warning for tsunamis, watch traffic up ahead on your route home, send it to the World Cup so you can watch the games from your own angles.  What would you use a personal UAV for?

who watches over you?Recognising Everyone, Everywhere

Currently, image and facial recognition is used at high security locations and increasingly on social networking sites (for example the immigration ‘smart gates’ at airports or tagging friends in photos on Facebook). This has made identity concealment more complex and detection of ‘wanted persons’ easier. In 2023, what if every CCTV camera was equipped with image recognition software and was linked to a database of convicted and suspected criminals, allowing a detailed searchable physical profile of each person to be built up? Outstanding warrants would be as likely to be resolved by cameras as by officers.  What other uses and impacts could such a surveillance network have?

who watches over you?Tracking And Tracing People

With the combination of individual mobile devices, GPS locations, GPS recording in photos and video and image and voice recognition technology, people can already be tracked physically, whether they mean to be or not.  Only the more technologically savvy can completely hide their location and movements.   By 2023, protecting your location, or other information about your life and habits technologies, could become a high growth business as more digital information is generated for every action and step you take.